View Full Version : BBEG Manual of ugly tricks

2010-03-12, 03:27 AM
... and monsters.

So far, I have 2 up my sleeve.

1. Implanted disjunction. When my pet minion dies, it detonates in a burst of disjunction. That'll teach those pesky magic-item swinging pests.

2. Illitihids with track teleport.
Usual path of things: PCs teleport in front of a dungeon, hack and cast away, then, when low on spells and hp, teleport back to Pelor-ish temple with a bunch of uh-uh-I-want-to-heal priests, goblin item merchants and prostitutes.

Illithid path of things: PCs teleport in front of a dungeon, hack and cast away, then, when low on spells and hp, teleport back to Pelor-ish temple with a bunch of uh-uh-I-want-to-heal priests, goblin item merchants and prostitutes. Then some disjunction bombs roll out of small teleports and detonate within the temple. Then, a swarm of Illithids arrives.
(how would one solve the problem of PSs retreating to rope trick or mages' magnificient mansion?)

Add more, if you have them ...

2010-03-12, 05:12 AM
I find less is more. I think my players would get really sick of playing fast if I was constantly throwing disjunction around everywhere. I know I would as a player or as a DM.

I tend to prefer simple things that creatures can do. For example, with a successful grapple check you can move up to 1/2 your speed while grappling. If you're flying you may make a dive attack which is treated as a charge and you deal double damage with talon or similar attacks. Thus a wyvern can drive-bomb a party member for 2xtalon damage, grapple them with their awesomeness, then take to the air (moving 1/2 their speed still allows them to maintain minimum flight) and drag them off - likely while they're still pinned.

Aquatic creatures can pull similar tricks; such as the Sea Cat grappling a party member and then swimming 20ft per round deeper into the murky water, while the party struggles to keep up and save their companion.

Incorporeal creatures can lurk inside solid objects such as walls, which allow them to attack blindly outside of the walls with a 50% miss chance (for being unable to see their targets) but are almost immune to any sort of reprisal that doesn't affect incorporeal creatures AND penetrate the walls (or floor, or ceiling).

Effects like Webs used by monstrous spiders require a DC 20 spot check to notice, and entangle players who walk into it. Little spiders biting players tend to force a lot of fortitude saves and eventually someone gets unlucky and starts feeling the sting. Lingering ability score damage sucks.

1st level human adepts wearing studded leather armor, carrying longspears, and sporting spell focus and greater spell focus (enchantment) with a 13 in their casting stat sport a DC 14 save or die sleep spell for most creatures with less than 5 HD. Additionally they can flank like crazy and use coup de grace attacks on sleeping people from a distance, with a x3 multiplier on their longspears. CR 1/2.

1st level orc warriors with a 13 base strength, sporting Weapon Focus (Greataxe) and wielding Great-axes sport a +5 to hit and 1d12+4 on damage, which is enough to be scary for a while. Alternatively, they could wield glaives for 1d10+4 while having reach. A group of pole-arm wielding orc warriors are a scary bunch in melee (+5 to hit, +7 if flanking). CR 1/2.

1st level goblin or kobold experts sporting ranks in tumble, wielding nets (usable on enemies up to medium size due to being small), and carrying longspears as backup are also nasty. They toss nets on people (ranged touch attack with a -4 penalty for non-proficiency, but they can sport at least a +2 dex bonus on the attack and +1 from size) to entangle them, and then start poking with pointy sticks with flanking bonuses.

Hell, for a funny encounter; have an orc warrior who trains 1/4 CR house-cats to be vicious killing machines. Have lots of them wearing kitty-cat barding who rush into an enemy's space (probably loosing a few to AoOs), and then begin using Aid Another actions to help the orc hit opponents with maxed power attack each round (essentially, the orc throws angry cats on you as a distraction, then clubs you to death). Each cat who can hit a DC 10 attack roll (roll of 6 or higher) can pop a +2 stacking bonus on the orc's attack rolls or armor class.

That's not counting stuff like simply overturning large bowls of oil and grease to slick up hallways. Or pit traps filled with oil, surrounded by hiding kobolds with tindertwigs or torches. Or maybe a room filled with kytons that move 30ft across their chains like bridges, slapping people with dirty chains in a room where the floor is covered in spikes or caltrops covered in various nasty things that could inflict filth fever with every step.

Or maybe the simple yet cruel encounter of a an invisible 3rd level wizard who has cast spiderclimb and invisibility followed by summon swarm on the party. Each round he moves up a tree or across a ceiling or just sits still and concentrates while the swarm has its way with his low-level enemies who didn't bother to bring see invisibility or strong anti-swarm options. Spider swarm for poison goodness.

Heck. Have a 5th level cleric with the Corpsecrafter feat (+4 str and +2hp/HD for undead you create) animate a band of orc zombies, and put those orcs in armor and give them glaives. They'll be hitting for about 1d10+6 damage with their glaive attacks, 1d6+4 with their slam attacks, sport a hefty AC (due to natural armor + armor), and be pretty hard to kill in the HP department. Send them after your enemies. To see this in action, see this Mini-Adventure (http://www.mediafire.com/file/zbgex0zn11k/Undead Encounters.pdf) I wrote for a friend of mine.

If you just want to be a douche-bag to your players, you can always drop a wand of lightning bolt with 1-2 charges on 2nd-3rd level goblin adepts. :smallamused:

Just some ideas.

2010-03-12, 05:21 AM
Tnx Ashiel, but problem of challenging PC came up as they got more powerfull. They would teleport themselves hundreds of miles away (with the help of their Wiz. of Thai and his pets), do epic pwnage and teleport back to a safe harbour. So illithids are a real invention for me.

These plans are meant for high lvl casters - the most dangerous kind.

2010-03-12, 05:41 AM
Ever consider the spell dimensional anchor? It's a much lower level spell and doesn't allow a save or spell resistance, just a ranged touch attack. Also, remember that mind-flayers can use Detect Thoughts at will to figure out when enemies are approaching. If doing nothing else, they should always be using their standard actions for thought detecting. If they feel a blip on the radar, then it's time to kill something.

Also don't forget that mind-flayers can plane shift to the ethereal plane and walk around watching players with immunity to virtually everything. If a group of mind flayers sense party members coming, they can jump them by plane shifting to the ethereal plane and then back again surrounding the party for a huge mind-f...blast. :smallsmile:

If you mix in minions it gets even better. Mind flayers with a level of cleric and a wand of animate dead x/day with 10HD worth of undead made into the wand can catch players off guard. If you have a group of 4 standard mind flayers + 1 level in cleric + wand, you can support 40 HD worth of undead. Said mind-flayers outfit their undead minions with nice gear, or simply nice armor - they're just meat-shields after-all.

The undead are immune to their mind blasts so when the party begins fighting the undead (not realizing the mind-flayers are ethereal in the room with them) the mind-flayers pop out with a surprise round, and mind-blast everything. The undead being completely immune to mind blast continue to be a speed-bump against the party. Undead are also great minions for mind-flayers because they can eat brains and keep thralls. It's a win/win. :smallcool:

Worst yet - if you want to be a bit of a douche (and sometimes we all do) - a mind-flayer with a few levels in cleric who commands an incorporeal shadow undead, with lots of little low-strength slaves and minions like kobolds or house-cats ('cause it's funny) can have his shadow kill them if need be. Those minions become new shadows under the control of the original in 1d4 rounds; thus allowing the illithid to control an army of shadows who each deal 1d6 strength damage as an incorporeal touch attack. Also, they too are immune to mind blasting. :smallamused:

Alternatively, just get your bad-guys paranoid. If the party shows up and is repelled and teleports away for healing; have your bad guys - along with their treasures - do the same. If a mind-flayer sees an enemy wizard 'port his party out of his dungeon, he will know darn well that they might be back - maybe with re-enforcements. This mind-flayer has two options. A) Do the same and prepare, or B) say screw it, take all of his good stuff and thralls and go somewhere else to be undisturbed. Potentially plotting his epic revenge against the party - whom he will find by dominating the mind of some diviner that he later comes across (since if someone wards against divining, the Illithid's not getting blasted). When the party teleports back, they find an empty dungeon (other than traps and things the illithid left their to mess with the party - like a room filled with explosive runes) and no treasure.

I still stand by my view that disjunction is really cheap, and feels like a crutch. It's so easy to screw with people without it. Destroying all their magic items and spells and such just seems like overkill. :smallconfused:

2010-03-12, 05:45 AM
Tnx for the input. Much appreciated.

I'll familiarise myself with all you just wrote. Illithids may just be my next BBEGs.

2010-03-12, 05:52 AM
Also, for high level casters. Keep in mind that the minion junk still works. Even at high levels, a few minions sporting wands of lightning/fire/frost/acid bolt (depending on your Energy Substitution flavors) make the best counter-spellers ever. Works like this.

Readied action vs Casting/Manifesting a spell/power.
All minions cast lightning/fire/frost/acid bolt or whatever you've given them. Caster needs to resist 5d6 (average 17.5) damage from each minion. Even on successful saving throws, the caster must make a concentration check for each blast made against them during the casting, with a DC of 10 + damage taken, which each concentration check increasing the DC.
Example: Haughty the Wizard decides he's going to cast Doomsday Spell IX. He begins casting. Suddenly the kobold adepts he had ignored in the battle, and assumed he had beaten at the initiative (they were merely readying actions) proceed to all cast lightning bolt from their little wands.

There are four of these kobolds, and each deals 17 damage. Being quite awesome, Haughty manages to save against each spell, resulting in only 8 damage from each. However, he must now make four concentration checks. The first DC is 18 (10 + damage taken during the action), the second is DC 26 (10 + damage taking during the action), the third is DC 34 (10 + damage taken during the action), with the final 4th being DC 42 (10 + damage taken during the action). Haughty wizard is feeling a bit ill...

2010-03-12, 06:15 AM
Also, if your casters sport lots of spell-resistance or energy resistances, there are similar methods for disrupting spells. Stacking stinking cloud is a pretty solid way to disrupt spell-casters without bothering undead minions.

Likewise, using lots of low-level no save / no SR spells like the orb spells, all targeting the same caster can be rather annoying for the same reason as the lightning bolt example above. Magic missile is also good.

The classic archer method is also still good. Protection from Arrows protects against non-magical arrows, and even then only up to 10 points of damage (which is usually enough of course). However, a few enemies with some +1 arrows tucked away for dealing with sorcery wielding types can screw with 'em something hardcore; especially if they're attacking from an unseen position.
Example: A group of goblins led by a druid who crafted the arrows and gave them to his her minions. The party is contending with summoned animals and the druid's companion while the druid sits in a nearby tree appearing to be a bird. The goblins sport huge hide modifiers from race, size, dexterity, and skill ranks. They also have an effective +1 to their hide for every 10ft they are from the party. The goblins all ready actions to shoot anyone who begins casting a spell (they can see the party because the party isn't hiding). The caster begins and is suddenly swarmed by lots of arrows that are targeting Haughty's flat-footed armor class. Each hit will deal an average of 4 damage (1d6+1), and throw the wizard into a mess of concentration checks once again.

2010-03-12, 06:46 AM
... and monsters.
(how would one solve the problem of PSs retreating to rope trick or mages' magnificient mansion?)

Add more, if you have them ...

Have the entry area cursed so anyone not a member of the faithful (if a church or cult site) so they unknowingly are now marked so no matter where they go they can be tracked since they might not realise they've been cursed especially if its part of a contingency so say the wizard dispells the protection on the gate or entrance but in so doing activates the previously inactive sigil that covers the entire area...

You could also have that planeshift them to what seems the same site but actually leads them further into the abyss for example as the area they now leaving was actually a demiplane designed to look exactly where they were standing but unless they get the idea of going back outside they won't realise whats happened until they start running into the denizens of that plane by the way if I remember rightly that would cut off or drastically reduce the effectivenes of clerical casting levels as well as magic items at least the ones they might need to hit certain abyssal denizens for example. Now just imagine they cast protection from evil whilst out there and remember they're the outsiders so it shouldn't work (unless you're feeling charitable).

As for that rope trick or mansion just have that curse be able to reveal where they are regardless of what plane they're on, I wonder how they'll feel when the bad guys gate in and just to be somewhat kind perhaps you'll eventually reveal that each time that gate is opened the curse on one of them is negated, of course nondetection would counter this but how long will it take before they realise all of them are in fact effected and would the spellcaster willingly spend that many spells or the party buy that many rings of mind shielding to counter this?

I'd also have them trip sigils that release summoned monsters since last time I checked they don't get xp for killing summoned creatures (please confirm otherwise) of course activating these sigils should either involve them being to normally disable them but also introduce the fact some of them are actually activated when they do this you could even go as far as using misdirection to cover this "traps" and even the curse so they have to research or even go on a quest to figure out whats happened to them.

Maybe thats too much?

2010-03-12, 06:49 AM
Don't forget a simple see invisibility spell can reveal a rope-trick spell. Doesn't give you access to the heroes inside it, but wow the pain they could be dropping into when they come back out - only to have everyone loaded for bear, and ready to strike.

2010-03-12, 07:32 AM
1. Implanted disjunction. When my pet minion dies, it detonates in a burst of disjunction. That'll teach those pesky magic-item swinging pests.
Ah yes, disjunction ... the ultimate proof that only casters (high will saves) can have nice things.

how would one solve the problem of PSs retreating to rope trick or mages' magnificient mansion?
Patrolling warforged guards with detect magic docent components (relatively cheap at 5100 gp, "normal" intelligent items can also do detect magic at will but will cost ~9000 gp if they have to be capable of speech). Alternatively some patrolling monsters with detect magic at will.

2010-03-12, 12:18 PM
The rope trick/magnificient mansion trick is simple. Cast dispel on the portal. All the occupants are spit out underprepared into a crowd of waiting enemies. Any items they weren't wearing or holding are now on the ground.

One nice trick to handle casters is to create a good melee fighter/grappler who can cast or has an item to create an antimagic field. Get close and they have no way to escape.

2010-03-12, 03:22 PM
The rope trick/magnificient mansion trick is simple.
Have to find it first ... which is where detect magic and see invisibility come in, but detect magic is cheaper to give to henchmen.

2010-03-12, 03:35 PM
Make your villain a lvl 20 wizard (with PrC's of course) and play him like the batman.